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Hometown Holiday in Peterborough set for Dec. 4-6

  • The Children and the Arts Day Festival of Light Lantern Parade in Peterborough Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. 

  • The Children and the Arts Festival Committee's first Festival of Light Lantern Parade in downtown Peterborough drew more than 1,000 people and more than 800 lanterns to the annual Christmas tree lighting events Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Staff Photo by Meghan Pierce

  • The Children and the Arts Festival Committee's first Festival of Light Lantern Parade in downtown Peterborough drew more than 1,000 people and more than 800 lanterns to the annual Christmas tree lighting events Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018. Staff Photo by Meghan Pierce

  • The Peterborough Night Market Aug. 10, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • The Peterborough Night Market Aug. 10, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • The Peterborough Night Market Aug. 10, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • The Peterborough Night Market Aug. 10, 2019. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/30/2020 5:02:43 PM

Peterborough’s annual holiday celebration to usher in the season is an attraction that brings people from all over the region on the first Saturday in December.

Last year, there was a lantern parade down Grove Street, followed by the annual tree lighting in Putnam Park, while cookies and cocoa were served up at the Monadnock Center for History & Culture.

But in the time of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, hosting an event like what was done in 2019 is not possible. Yet there had to be a way to bring people together while staying apart, local organizers thought, and the resulting Hometown Holiday weekend planned for this weekend, Dec. 4-6 should have more than enough to get people in a festive mood. 

“It’s a bigger event, but spread out over multiple days,” said Michelle Stahl, executive director of the Monadnock Center for History & Culture.

In lieu of the lantern parade, Children and the Arts will instead present an art installation in Putnam Park featuring lanterns using the theme “Home Sweet Home.”

“It wasn’t safe to do the parade, but we didn’t want to let it go,” said organizer Terry Reeves. “It’s been a hugely popular thing so we thought about what can we do so it’s not too far from people’s minds.”

Artists and volunteers – “friends who want to help,” Reeves said – have been hard at work creating lanterns for the installation all in the shape of a home.

“Some are artists, some are good people who just want to lend a hand,” Reeves said.

There are what you might call regular-size homes, and smaller homes that will hang in trees and even one of the Peterborough Town House. There will also be village scenes, out of the same material that are used for political signs.

“We hope it’s going to be enough to make a presence in the park,” Reeves said.

There was hope early on that the parade would be able to go on like it has the last two years, but Reeves said in September the committee knew it wouldn’t be possible.

“People need to see a little bit of light,” Reeves said. “Everybody needs something these days.”

The lanterns will be lit from Dec. 4-6 from 4 to 8 p.m. Volunteers will be on hand to direct people and masks are required.

In conjunction there will be the Light up Monadnock Community Art Project where families are encouraged to make a house lantern and post a photo to social media with the hashtag #LightUpMonadnock. 

“Instead of getting together in a physical space, you’re getting together in a virtual space,” Stahl said.

The Peterborough Town Library will have Take & Make lantern kits for participants in their Tuesday morning Zoom story times on Dec. 1.

“We’re encouraging people to show off the lanterns they’ve made,” Reeves said. “And we’ll see what shows up in the gallery.”

The tree in Putnam Park will be shining with lights, but there won’t be an official tree lighting.

The Holiday Night Market will be held Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 6 p.m. It will look different than the inaugural market held last summer, with booths packed into the downtown parking lot next to the Peterborough Community Theatre. Instead, there will be 10 artists spread out across Grove, Main and School streets. But the point is to give artists – albeit a small number of them – a chance to bring in some income.

“We have a lot of artists in the area that have had a tough time,” said Roy Schlieben, executive director of MAxT Makerspace. “So this is giving some of those artists a chance to sell their work in a safe way.”

Schlieben said it will be similar to what people would expect from Broke, which was canceled this year, in both work and price. The artists are encouraged to make their booths festive, but there won’t be any demos that would give people a reason to linger.

“It’s more strolling and shopping,” he said. “We’re hopeful the community will come out and see a lot of great things to buy and support local artists.” There will be paintings and jewelry, paper art and wood burning creations.

Totally Thai Food Truck will also be on site for both days.

It’s not quite what Schlieben had in mind for his follow-up night market, but it has to be done safe in order to have anything at all.

“Doing you traditional holiday market this year won’t work,” he said.

For those looking to get a family picture with Santa, you’re in luck. The town has secured a special life-size snow globe which Santa will be in, while families can stand outside for what will surely be a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity. Pictures with Santa will run on Dec. 5-6, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Each year, a Messiah Community Festival is typically held in the Unitarian Universalist Church, but this year the singers will be on the front lawn of the church for a pop-up performance of two of Handel’s famous choruses on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. Community members are invited to sing as well. There is no rehearsal involved, just an opportunity to share in the music of Messiah by singing “And The Glory” and the “Hallelujah” choruses. Jim Sharrock will direct the singers, accompanied by Cheryl Sharrock on keyboard.

All singers will wear masks, stay socially distanced and bring their own music. This will be a 10-minute outdoor sing. The church building will not be open. All are welcome and no registration is required.

For weather cancellation, check the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/MessiahPbro.

Downtown Peterborough shops will decorate their windows and stay open late, with sidewalk sales and specials all weekend.

As with any community gathering during the pandemic, guests should wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Stahl said even though things will look different the events “are preserving that spirit.”

“This is a dark time and anything that’s going to bring a warm light into our community is worth working on,” Stahl said. “I like the vibe of this – bringing light into a dark time.”

For more, visit https:// monadnockcenter.org/event/hometown-holiday-weekend/.


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